The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) is established under, and operates in accordance with, the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Act 2001. The role of VEAC is to conduct investigations and assessments as requested by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, relating to the protection and ecologically sustainable management of the environment and natural resources of public land.

Prior to a new investigation occurring, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) advertises the proposed terms of reference for the investigation, for public comment. Based on feedback received, DELWP then reviews and finalises the terms of reference, before the Minister provides a request for investigation to VEAC. Once VEAC has completed an investigation, they must submit a written report to the Minister that includes any recommendations resulting from the investigation. The Victorian Government then responds to VEAC's recommendations within six months. DELWP coordinates the process within government.

In September 2016, the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Act 2001 was amended to enable the Minister to request that VEAC conduct shorter assessments or advice for matters that do not require an investigation (for example, a matter that has a limited scale or scope, or due to its technical nature).

For further information on VEAC, including current and completed investigations and assessments, visit the VEAC website.

Current VEAC Investigations

On 20 March 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change asked VEAC to carry out an investigation into public land in the central west of Victoria, including the Wombat, Wellsford, Mount Cole and Pyrenees Range forests within the area shown on the Investigation Map.

The purpose of the investigation is to:

  • identify and evaluate the condition, natural and cultural values and the current uses of public land in the specified area, and
  • make recommendations for the balanced use and appropriate management arrangements to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural values.

The investigation will occur over two years and include two public submission periods. The final report is due by March 2019.

During November 2016, the government invited public comments on the proposed terms of reference and area for the investigation.The final terms of reference, and a summary of how the government addressed public comments received during this period, have been provided to Parliament.

For further information about the Central West Investigation, including how to get involved, visit the VEAC website.

Completed VEAC Investigations and Assessments

VEAC has recently completed the following investigations and assessments:

In September 2014, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change asked VEAC to carry out an investigation into public land in Victoria to provide updated information for public land management. The Council was requested to investigate and provide:

  • an assessment of the current system of public land use categories
  • an assessment of the current reservation status of public land, and
  • an inventory of the types of values on public land.

VEAC's Statewide Assessment of Public Land Final Report was publicly released on 8 May 2017 and is available on the VEAC website. VEAC made 30 recommendations to the Victorian Government as a result of the investigation. On 12 December 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change tabled the Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Statewide Assessment of Public Land Final Report in Parliament. The government accepted, accepted in principle or in part, all 30 of VEAC's recommendations.

In November 2016, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to carry out an assessment of the viability of and capacity for, current volumes and potential fibre and wood supply areas in State forests in the Central Highlands, North East, Gippsland and East Gippsland regional forest agreement areas.

The purpose of the assessment was to:

  • Identify the current, and currently projected, fibre and wood supply to industry from the specified area. The Council was required to take into consideration current contractual supply commitments.
  • Identify the current and likely future constraints to this supply.
  • Report on public land use and management.
  • Report on the viability of and capacity for current and potential wood and fibre supply over appropriate time scales.

The Fibre and Wood Supply Assessment Report was publicly released on 10 May 2017 and is available from the VEAC website. VEAC was not required to, and did not make, any recommendations to the Victorian Government in their final report. In accordance with the VEAC Act, the Victorian Government is currently preparing a response to VEAC's assessment report.

In September 2016, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to carry out an assessment of the conservation values of State forests in the Central Highlands, North East, Gippsland and East Gippsland regional forest agreement areas.

The purpose of the assessment was to:

  • identify the biodiversity and ecological values in the specified area
  • identify the current and likely future threats to these values, and
  • report on public land use and management.

The Conservation Values of State Forests Assessment Report was publicly released on 7 March 2017 and is available from the VEAC website. VEAC was not required to, and did not make, any recommendations to the Victorian Government in their final report. In accordance with the VEAC Act, the Victorian Government is currently preparing a response to VEAC's assessment.

In March 2014, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to investigate historic places on public land in Victoria. On 31 August 2016, VEAC provided its Historic Places Investigation Final Report to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

On 7 June 2017, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change tabled the Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Historic Places Investigation Final Report in Parliament. The government responded to the 11 recommendations made by VEAC and supported, supported in principle or in part, 10 of VEAC's 11 recommendations.

In October 2011, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to investigate the performance and management of Victoria's existing marine protected areas, and the ongoing threats and challenges that these areas face into the future.

VEAC completed the investigation in April 2014 and made 38 recommendations to the Victorian Government in the Marine Investigation Final Report. The Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Marine Investigation was publicly released on 31 August 2016. The government response supports all VEAC's recommendations in full or in principle.

In August 2011, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to investigate public land in the Yellingbo area, focusing on its biodiversity and ecological values and arrangements to conserve and enhance these values. VEAC's Yellingbo Investigation Final Report was publicly released on 7 August 2013.

The Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Yellingbo Investigation supports all of VEAC's recommendations in full or in principle.

For further information on the Yellingbo Investigation, visit the VEAC website.

In August 2012, the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change requested VEAC to investigate "under what circumstances it is appropriate that greater access be provided for low impact prospecting, while still protecting the heritage and environmental values of our national parks". VEAC's Investigation into Additional Prospecting Areas in Parks Report was publicly released on 7 June 2013. VEAC made six recommendations to the Victorian Government in this report.

The Victorian Government Response to VEAC's Investigation into Additional Prospecting Areas in Parks was tabled in Parliament and publicly released on 4 February 2014, and includes three main changes for recreational prospectors.

VEAC's report and other details about the investigation are available from VEAC's website.